The installation of a low emissions zone in Antwerp town centre a year ago has led to a sharp drop in the emission of pollutants such as soot, azote oxides and fine particles from road traffic. In any case, this is what Antwerp authorities have concluded based on a study by the Leuven Transport and Mobility Institute and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Vito). They compared traffic in Flanders at the end of 2016 (before the measure came into place) and traffic in the same area at the end of 2017.
The study used technical data on vehicles picked up by cameras in the low emission zone. These statistics were provided by the Vehicle Registration Commission. The figures are also based on real-time emission data instead of those provided by producers. They also took the distances travelled by those vehicles into account.
Antwerp authorities say soot emissions from cars dropped by 33% during the period looked at by the study. However, the fact that cars are newer does affect this figure. This means there was a 22% drop in the low emission zone.
The emission of azote oxides has dropped by nearly 12%. The emission of azote dioxide has dropped by 8%. The amount of PM 10 and PM 2.5 type fine particles has dropped by 7 and 10%. These figures do not show air quality. Antwerp authorities say that will be measured in the autumn.